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Wildcats Down Lions 70-54 - Arizona vs LMU Women's Basketball 11-12-23

Cover Photo: Daniel Cervantes, KAMP Student Radio

On a very fair weather Sunday afternoon in early November, the Wildcats hosted the Lions of Loyola Marymount University to continue their early season out of conference slate. As the middle match of a three-game homestand, the Wildcats were well at home at McKale, entering on a two-game winning streak with their most recent result an 87-64 win against Northern Arizona on Friday the 10th to open up the homestand. On the flipside, the Lions entered 0-1 after losing their home opener against UNLV 72-62 the Monday before. To say the least, the matchup quite favored the Wildcats, who had five players score over 10 points against NAU while the Lions only had a pair of 10+ point scorers against UNLV.

With a solid 6,784 in attendance, the game tipped off at 2 PM MST sharp. The first quarter of action went smoothly for the Wildcats as they were able to assert themselves quite well from the start, outscoring the Lions 25-16 through the first ten minutes to give themselves a solid nine point lead entering the second frame. What followed was a truly brutal scoring drought as the Wildcats failed to score any points for just over six minutes, leaving the door open for the Lions to begin mounting a comeback. Toward the end of the quarter, the Wildcats began to muster some offense so that at the end of the quarter the Lions had outscored Arizona 13-11, making it a closer 36-29 match entering halftime. One of the most telling stats from the quarter was Arizona going 4-18 from outside the arc, a stark contrast to their much smoother 9-17 in the first frame.

In the third quarter, Arizona’s scoring woes would persist to a degree as they went 5-16 from outside the arc. The Lions were likewise unable to convert their opportunities, going 3-11 from outside the arc as the Wildcats outscored them 16-10 in the third frame, making the score 52-39 entering the final quarter of play. In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats, who had been committing fouls in droves throughout the game, finally had them come back to haunt them. Breya Cunningham would pick up her fifth personal foul of the game and have to sit out the rest of the match with Esmery Martinez, Jada Williams, and Maya Nnaji coming dangerously close to doing the same as they finished the match with four personal fouls apiece. In the final quarter the Wildcats gave up eight total free throws, a pair of them coming from three-point plays that the Lions were luckily unable to convert. In the end, the lead the Wildcats built in the third quarter proved too much to overcome alongside Arizona outscoring the Lions narrowly 18-15 in the fourth quarter to result in a 70-54 final score.

Loyola Marymount’s Da’Ja Hamilton and Amaya Oliver came to play with both players scoring over ten points (18 and 12 respectively) and Oliver handling 16 rebounds to put up a pair of respectable performances despite the loss. Kailyn Gilbert, Helena Pueyo, and Salimatou Kourouma all eclipsed the ten point mark (15, 12, and 12 respectively) with Gilbert leading the team with nine rebounds. Pueyo, for her performance that included seven crucial steals, earned the honor to bang the drum as the final celebration for the match.

Looking at the road ahead, the Wildcats, now sitting at 3-0 on the year, will stay home as they host the University of San Diego on Tuesday the 14th of November with the tip-off set for 6:30 PM MST. From there, they will head out to Nassau, The Bahamas to play against Memphis in the opening round of the Battle4Atlantis on Saturday the 18th at 12:30 PM MST. As for the Lions, they look to rebound after falling to 0-2 as they will host Biola University on Thursday the 16th, the match set to begin at 6 PM PST. Here’s hoping for continued success for the Wildcats as they face an exciting slate this week. Bear down, go Cats.


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